Occasionally I get asked what I think about home schooling. Let me say from the outset that I'm not against it at all. I was actually homeschooled for Year 3 because I wasn't coping with the local Indian school and I wasn't old enough for boarding school. I have lots of friends who do it - some out of necessity (eg. missionary friends in remote places with no options) or out of choice (because their child doesn't cope with the mainstream school system).
So I'm fine with the whole concept. I have great admiration for families that choose to provide that education for their kids. It is hard work and a significant drain on time and emotional energy (usually for the mum). I also think that it can be a great gift for children who would otherwise get lost in a conventional educational institution.
But why wouldn't I do it? Partly because I did homeschooling myself and found it quite lonely. I missed the social interaction of school and ended up begging my parents to send me to boarding school in Year 5 (not quite sure what happened to Year 4 ... but anyway, I seem to have survived). I found learning with other kids stimulating.
I also think I'm not that mum. I know that if I had to (no other educational options/school so awful my child wasn't coping) I'd motivate myself to do it. I have the skills - I trained as a school teacher. But I'm so not patient. I find motivating the children to get through music practice exhausting enough.
I also always loved being a part of a school community. And I'm enjoying seeing my kids making those relationships at school and then hanging out with their friends who live down the street. I enjoy connecting with the wider community through school.
A few years ago I met a homeschooler who was curious about how I (as a Christian parent) could let my children go to an inner city public school where they would be taught all kinds of terrible things. 'Aren't you worried about them?', she asked.
I was a bit taken aback because I had never thought like that about my children's experience of their school. I didn't think they'd been taught 'terrible' things. Maybe they were exposed to ideas that I didn't always agree with, but for the majority of the time it was fine. I actually thought that it meant there wasn't much they were surprised or shocked by. It meant that they knew all kinds of different kids, not just the ones I would choose for them.
And I wasn't worried. If I say that I trust in God, and I say that I trust God with my children, then I shouldn't be worried. If I claim to trust in God, then I shouldn't be fearful about putting my children in the world. What I need to do is know God better, his might, his power over ALL things (including my children), and to keep being a Christian in the place I live.
That's my thinking anyway. Remember: I'm not against homeschooling - just can't see myself doing it. (but hey, always said I've never marry an Anglican minister and here I am. So, never, say never ...)